1903 to 1963
The UNC Band was formed in 1903 with the first performance occurring in 1904 at an UNC Baseball game. In 1905 the band began playing for all home baseball games and that same year, the band traveled by train to Raleigh for the first time to support an UNC athletic team. In 1906 the band began presenting concerts on the steps to the Alumni Building under the direction of Charles T. Woollen, who was also the comptroller of the university. By 1908 the band was traveling by train to away football games on a regular basis at their own expense. The University began supporting the UNC Band financially in November, 1913 by spending $93.05 to send 20 members of the band to Virginia by train for a football game. The band continued to grow and in 1920, under the direction of Professor T. Smith McCorkle, the 50 member band had become a valued part of Carolina football games. In 1930, Professor McCorkle, who was a violinist and a member of the recently established Music Department, and the UNC Band made its first state-wide concert tour. In 1932, at the urging of Professor McCorkle, Dr. Frank Porter Graham who had recently been inaugurated as the President of the University, hired Earl Slocum to be Director of Bands effective August 1, 1933.
UNC 6 – Duke 3
Earl Slocum was a native of Michigan and had been teaching in the Greensboro, NC school system and at Women’s College in Greensboro prior to his appointment at UNC. An accomplished flutist, he had spent many years performing around the country and came to Carolina determined to build a band program second to none. With the support of Dr. Graham and the Athletic Department, the band purchased uniforms in 1935 and by the late 1930’s, membership in the UNC Band had grown to well over 100. The war years took their toll on the UNC Band, but the post war years redefined the importance of the UNC Band’s role at athletic events. The arrival of football All-American Charles “Choo Choo” Justice meant national rankings and significant exposure for the football team and the band benefited as well. The band continued the tradition of performing on the steps of the Alumni Building and had also established a loyal following for indoor concerts presents throughout the academic year. After 23 years at the helm of the UNC Marching Band, Dr. Slocum turned the marching band over to Mr. Herb Fred.The Band continued to grow and flourish under the director of Mr. Fred. In the fall of 1963, Dean Smith inquired as to the possibility of having a band at home basketball games, and marching band member Keith McClelland assembled an ensemble of about a dozen players, many of whom were marching band members to play at the games in Woolen gym. The band performed the standard school songs along with a few arrangements McClelland had prepared for the group. In late 1963, Mr. Fred left UNC for a position at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Dr. Slocum hired Major John F. Yesulaitis to take over the athletic portion of the band program.